Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, July 28, 2014

a drive and a walk

Denise was going to write today but she's a little tired from driving so I grabbed the computer. See - it's helpful to have a little red dog as a travel companion!

Today was both a driving day and a walking day. We headed out at what I thought was a reasonable time for a vacation travel day, at about 8 AM. Denise made a quick Starbucks stop to pick up some coffee and then we jumped on the Trans-Canada Highway heading north. I think the highway officially runs east to west in Newfoundland so I think the highway signs said that we were traveling west. I think that's a bit odd but Denise tells me that's how highway signs work.

We drove and drove, finally stopping when we reached Terra Nova National Park. We spent a couple of hours there hiking. The trails we were on were mainly in the woods with a bit of a water view on one of them. The trails were a combination of boardwalks and very narrow paths. We only did a part of the first trail; when the trail got so overgrown that I was having problems bouncing I grabbed a ride, hopping into Denise's camera bag. She kept walking for a bit, stopping when I told her I thought it was a good idea to turn around. The second trail was much nicer. There were longer boardwalks and the trail sections stayed a reasonable width until we reached the pond at the turnaround point. I think we were supposed to walk around the pond but I couldn't find any trace of the trail! I decided we should call that the end! It was a pretty walk but I know Denise is happier when she has a view to make her camera happy.

Denise thought about starting another hike at mid-afternoon. I convinced her to head to our home for the next two nights at that point - we will walk some more tomorrow! We're staying with Marilyn and Graham at Inn by the Sea in Eastport. (We stayed here the last time we were in Newfoundland too!) After we arrived we spent some time chatting with our hosts and with two other guests who arrived just after we did. It's always interesting to meet the other folks in a B&B!

A walk by the water completed another good day in Newfoundland.

--- Rover
a sea of blue
a sea of blue, as viewed from the beach in Eastport

Sunday, July 27, 2014

late day light

Wow! Sunset here is a half hour later than it is at home right now, at 8:41 PM.

Denise decided we should head back to Signal Hill to see if there was any interesting light. Oh, we drove up the hill this time - that was better for a late day visit after wandering for much of the day.

It's funny though - the sun sets in the west and she was mostly looking toward the east. I think she just likes looking at the water. The light was interesting, even looking away from the sunset.

--- Rover
late day light from high on Signal Hill, looking to the east

locations repeat

Today was a repeat of the places I visited yesterday with a fresh start on the weather. I much prefer the sky on stormy days but today's subtle blue with wisps of clouds was definitely an improvement on yesterday's wet.

I started early with a loop on Signal Hill using the road (sidewalk) as the up path and trails (and many stairs) as the down path. Before reaching the top I spotted some stairs climbing a high spot that I hadn't previously visited. That was a good off-route wander. After that short "stop" I continued to the top of Signal Hill, then started down the other side. The trail is well maintained, including many wooden stairs that traverse the steep back side of the hill.

I stopped to chat with some folks walking in the opposite direction (than the direction I chose today). If I lived here I believe Signal Hill would be a regular part of my exercise routine - although I'd imagine there are weather conditions that wouldn't be conducive to the steeper trail section of the loop. The views are beautiful; I'd love to see Signal Hill in different seasons.

Next on today's wanders was a second visit to Cape Spear. This time I could see the sea, no fog!

Instead of returning on the same roads I made a side trip to Maddox Cove and Pretty Harbour where there were boats sitting in the calm waters of the harbor, light generating reflections of the brightly colored boats.

I headed back to St. John's with the thought of finding the road that runs on the south side of St. John's Harbour. I knew the name of the road and I thought that the road I was on would spill right into Southside Road. It did! I was able to walk to the end of the road, to look back across the harbor to Signal Hill.

Funny, I don't feel like I did that much today but I was out wandering for a solid 8 hours. It was a good day.

jagged rocks at Cape Spear, Newfoundland
looking to the north (and east), from Cape Spear

Saturday, July 26, 2014

so wet!

Oh wow! I think it's a good thing we have a second day in St. John's because Denise said that we need to go back to two of today's wandering spots.

It was still raining when we woke up this morning but it stopped before we headed out for the day. We started by heading to Signal Hill. Denise left the car on Battery Road at the bottom of the hill. She said we would walk up next to the road then take a trail back down again. We walked up, stopping at a few spots that looked interesting. When we reached the top from a road standpoint we could see that there was still a small hill to climb. So... we climbed it!

The view was pure magic; there were wisps of what looked like fog hovering over the water in some spots. We walked around a bit, then headed to Cabot Tower to check out the view from the top of the monument.

As soon as we tromped down the first set of stairs on the trail down it started raining. Blue and I jumped into the camera bag and Denise covered it with the rain cover that she always carries. She was very happy that I reminded her to grab her rain jacket this morning; she really needed it today. The rain was light and steady initially. Unfortunately it quickly turned into a downpour. We headed back to Cabot Tower with oodles of other people to try to wait out the wet. When it didn't stop in what Denise thought was a reasonable period of time she decided to head down again. We didn't take the trail because walking a sometimes narrow (and maybe slippery) trail in the rain didn't sound like fun. Instead we returned the same way we climbed up - on the sidewalk.

By the time we reached the bottom it wasn't raining any more but it was still really gray. We walked a bit on the streets of St. John's before heading to just a bit south and to the east to visit the Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site.

As we got closer to Cape Spear it got foggier and foggier. I thought maybe we would just turn around but Denise thought it would be fun to see it in the fog. I'm not sure why she thought that because there were moments when we really could only see a wall of white. At one point I could hear the fog horn but I couldn't see the lighthouse except when the rotating light flashed green in our direction. Denise was right though - walking in that thick fog was pretty cool. I thought it was interesting that there were times when the wind blew the fog away a little bit.

Before deciding to end our wanders for the day we went to the MUN Botanical Garden to give our eyes a treat - colors other than white and gray. While we were there the sun reappeared, blue started showing in the sky, and the temperature jumped up a bit. That was a nice way to end the day.

Tomorrow? The forecast calls for sunshine and a temperature of 26 (C). We might add something different too but I'm sure we're going to walk both Signal Hill and Cape Spear.

--- Rover
a foggy afternoon on Cape Spear
on Cape Spear, in the fog

rental car saga

I didn't pick up a rental car until this morning and as it turned out I think that was a good move. Luckily, there were no other customers in sight at the rental car counters...

Summer is a busy time for visitors here; all of the rental car companies are sold out. My reservation was with Enterprise. When I showed up at the counter at 7 AM there were only two clean cars available, both SUVs. Given that I didn't request the upgrade the car was going to be the same price as the smaller vehicle I had requested. But - I really prefer a smaller car. Josh - the Enterprise representative manning the desk - offered to go out to the lot with me to see if any of the smaller cars returned last night but not yet cleaned were in shape to be rented.

Yay! There were several smaller cars, all clean enough for me. I ended up with a Ford Focus with a push-button ignition. That means that unlike my usual struggle the first day with a rental trying to figure out why the car doesn't start if I don't put the key in the ignition, this time the car feels normal to me.

I'm happy with my vehicle for the week. Now... I'm off to wander.

Friday, July 25, 2014

tired

It's been a long day, a day of hopping on planes, of sitting, waiting, and flying.

According to the Daft Logic distance calculator I am now 957 miles northeast of this morning's starting point.

map showing distance from Boston to St. John's

opening soon

The beginning of a flower, still closed, is pretty in pink.

opening soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a half hour

Did you know that Newfoundland is in a half hour time zone?

Newfoundland is the only place in North America that wears a half hour difference from the next timezone. It's a half hour later than Atlantic time, an hour and a half later than my home Eastern time zone.

from http://www.timeanddate.com/time/time-zones-interesting.html:

Newfoundland does not follow the rest of Canada in keeping time because of two main reasons. First, while Newfoundland is located in the UTC-4 timezone, it is exactly three and a half hours from UTC as measured by a sun dial. Second, the legislation that decided the time offset for the province was passed in 1935, 14 years before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949.

Really? Three and a half hours by sun dial?

serenity

Calm waters bordered by a swath of green feed a feeling of serenity.

looking north, from the bridge to Plum Island

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

collecting things (for travel)

I think it's a good thing I'm helping Denise get ready to travel...

I found a stash of dollars from Canada that Denise was supposed to change back to US dollars when we returned from Alberta last summer. Somehow that didn't happen so we have some money to use as we start our travels. When I pulled the money out Denise took a look at it and for a minute she didn't believe it was real. Canada's newer money is made of polymer, and there are some sections that are transparent. They are very cool looking. If you're curious about the money you can read about it on this page of the Bank of Canada web site.

Canada $20 bill

And guess what else I found! Denise bought an annual pass to Canada's national parks when we were in Alberta last summer. Our timing is good because the pass runs through August. I don't remember if there is an entrance station at Terra Nova National Park, but we're set with our pass (if there is).

It's not too much longer before we jump onto a plane for our trip. I'm excited, and Blue is too!

--- Rover
Rover and friend Blue, on the Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park
Rover & Blue on the Schoodic Peninsula